Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Cormac McCarthy is to some degree a very distinguished writer of a normally cheap genre of fiction: as Brewton claims, McCarthy's goal in All the Pretty Horses was to "tell authentic westerns using the basic formulas of the genre while avoiding the false sentimentality, uncritical nostalgia, and unearned happy endings that often characterize the genre in its popular forms." (133). But what kind of representation of the American est can we expect from a novel that takes its cues from popular culture? McCarthy seems aware of the paradox. Near the opening of All the Pretty Horses, McCarthy's protagonist John Grady Cole has a youthful reverie while staring at a painted picture of horses rampant:
On the wall opposite above the sideboard was an oilpainting of horses. There were half a dozen of them breaking through a pole corral and their manes were long and…… [Read More]
Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian
McCarthy, a Pulitzer Prize winner (for his novel The Road) and highly respected novelist, is said to have gone into a lot of research on the history of the Southwest prior to writing Blood Meridian. And so, while this is fiction, the novel has a basis for its plot. Indeed the Mexican-American ar (during which the U.S. annexed Texas) and the concept of Manifest Destiny are definite themes in the novel. Also, there actually was a "Glanton Gang" of rowdy scalp hunters and marauding killers, led by John Joel Glanton. McCarthy researched their antics and movements and uses that historical record very effectively in his novel.
Meanwhile, the story features a runaway teenage boy called "the kid," who was born in Tennessee during the Leonids meteor shower in 1833. The kid meets up with the novel's protagonist, Judge Holden in Nacogdoches Texas, and Holden, a mysterious,…… [Read More]
Travelling the Path to Understanding Child-Parent elationships
In the book, "The oad," by Cormac McCarthy, the world has stopped, society slowly depleting itself as the world's resources do the same. The man and the boy travel in search of the ocean's edge, hearing rumors that it lacks the cannibalism and rape that the rest of the world now unfortunately knows well. In their travels, readers are able to watch the growth of the father-son relationship, viewing both what the man has sacrificed for his son's benefit, as well as the growth the boy has into understanding and appreciating these sacrifices.
Others searched for means of survival, too, such as finding food, drink, and shelter. Many have turned to cannibalism, but the man refuses to teach his boy such animosity, no matter how hungry the two become. Early on the boy lets the readers understand the lifestyle in which they…… [Read More]
Some books are deceptive in terms of their subject matter. At first glance, for example, such books can appear simple, with a relatively straightforward story. Others are excessively uplifting or bleak, appearing to cater to only one single concept or emotion. Many times, however, the most apparently simple stories can hide deeper themes relating to the what we as human beings truly are. They contain important lessons or hold the capacity to change the lives of their readers. Indeed, as humanity, we are lucky to have the cognitive skills and understanding to enjoy such high-level works. Three prime examples of works that are deceptively simple and/or bleak include The oad by Cormac McCarthy, On the oad by Jack Kerouac, and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. Of the three, The oad Is probably the bleakest, while Into the Wild is the most straightforward, but each of the three works…… [Read More]
The man and his son are so demonstrably complex in this story, even if their survival motives are simple and clear. Particularly, even as they endure a world of cannibalism and tribalism, the two struggle mightily to maintain a sense of moral turpitude, even to the point of impracticality.
This is perhaps the most tangibly real element of McCarthy's text, which focuses significant attention to the scorched landscape and its implications. In the passage where McCarthy introduces us to this landscape, he describes the man in a state of observation, telling that "when it was light enough to use the binoculars he glassed the valley below. Everything paling away into thte murk. The soft ask blowing in loose swirls over the blacktop. He studied what he could see. The segments of road down there among the dead trees. Looking for anything of color. Any movement. Any trace of standing smoke."…… [Read More]
"(McCarthy, 205) Under the pressure of the modern world, the real things remain hidden from the view of man: "hen you encounter certain things in the world, the evidence for certain things, you realize that you have come upon something that you may not very well be equal to... hen you've said that it's real and not just in your head, I'm not all that sure what it is you have said."(McCarthy, 56) Thus, through an edgy and even troubling plot, McCarthy manages to portray a few of the failings of modern man and of the modern world itself. As Aaron Gwyn points out, the novel is almost an elegy of the lost world forever, but which can be regained as a new Paradise later: "McCarthy composes a tale of immense terror and beauty, one which poses the most serious of moral questions even as it pushes the bounds of…… [Read More]
If feminism is about civil rights, human rights, children's rights and the search for peace, then it is clear that a substantial amount of the descriptive narrative in the Road is clearly anti-feminine. This has nothing to do with gender rights, and everything to do with the rights of all humans to live in dignity and be allowed "...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The nights, McCarthy writes on page 129, were "...blinding cold and casket black and the long reach of the morning had a terrible silence to it. Like a dawn before battle." The feminist world is not a cold world at all and children are sheltered from suffering; death is not supposed to come to young and middle aged people and mornings are not silent. Mornings are supposed to be filled with the joyful sound of songbirds and the happy shrieks of children, and there is…… [Read More]
In a similar moment, when he and his friend become separated from Blevins, his friend tries to talk him out of going back for the boy, arguing that it can only lead to trouble. Cole simply can't bring himself to do it (79). It seems that he is driven by a notion of himself as a kind of manly hero, a notion that often gets him into trouble. Luce argues that this is a sign of Cole acting as romantic hero, pointing out that "The novel is suffused with evidence of his immaturity, his romanticism, his grandiosity, his disappointed sense of entitlement" (155).
When he meets with Alfonsa near the end of the novel, she approaches him with a weary worldliness, seeing in him the kind of youthful idealism that she had at one point believed in. She tells him a story of how she had once come to meet…… [Read More]
roots of Southern literature and how the authors view moral freedom in their works. It has 5 sources.
When the Puritans of Europe left their homeland for the vast and wild continent of America they envisioned social and religious freedom. For them American had been a deserted place and the only enemy they have had been the Natives. However, they did not envision the fact that they would undergo severe battle of the inner self as well as the harsh external environment. As they spend more of their time on the continent they realized that the promise of a free new land has been a dream and that in order to survive they have abandon their old ways to become more focused and adapt to the environment. The pervasive and massiveness of the diversified American culture at the time posed a mixture of excitement as well as danger for them.…… [Read More]
Uncle Daniel and Lester Ballard
Proper characterization is one of the greatest skills that a writer possesses because often times poor development of characters or their inapt portrayal can completely destroy even the most perfect of stories. It has been noticed that while most writers pay close attention to evolution of their characters, they do tend to go overboard with negative or positive characterization on some occasions. Despite their good intentions, they get carried away with a desire to create unusual characters that cannot be related to easily. A writer's ability to develop realistic characters tend to add to the overall impact and popularity of their works and similarly a poorly developed or unrealistic character can destroy an otherwise good plot. However in some rare cases, even a seemingly unreal character manages to leave a lasting impact because of the sheer creative genius of the authors. This is exactly what…… [Read More]
Discussion on Perspectives of Violence Based on Three Readings
Violence and tragedy are a fact of life that the human condition has yet to rid itself off. Misfortune can come from many sources. It can come from within a person, from within a family, or from within a community. It is the way people explain and come to terms with such events that define the life that persists afterwards. In the three stories selected, violence is portrayed in each. However, the source of the violence is attributed to different causes. It is a natural human response to try to make sense of tragic events and people do this in different ways. In this analysis, three stories will be used to compare and contrast how some individuals cope, or fail to cope, with violence or misfortune. Each story provides a different perspective on this issue.
Flannery O'Conner was…… [Read More]
O rother, Where Art Thou?
Homer in Hollywood: The Coen rothers' O rother, Where Art Thou?
Could a Hollywood filmmaker adapt Homer's Odyssey for the screen in the same way that James Joyce did for the Modernist novel? The idea of a high-art film adaptation of the Odyssey is actually at the center of the plot of Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 film Contempt, and the Alberto Moravia novel on which Godard's film is based. In Contempt, Prokosch, a rich American dilettante film producer played by Jack Palance, hires Fritz Lang to film a version of Homer's Odyssey, then hires a screenwriter to write it and promptly ruins his marriage to rigitte ardot. Fritz Lang gamely plays himself -- joining the ranks of fellow "arty" German-born directors who had earlier deigned to act before the camera (like Erich von Stroheim in Wilder's Sunset oulevard, playing a former director not unlike himself, or…… [Read More]
River of Traps: The Power of ater
In the opening of River of Traps Jacobo Romero admonishes his neighbors (a couple of novice farmers who also happen to be the authors of this book) when they carelessly allow water to trickle to waste. "He [Romero] chided us relentlessly never to 'give holiday to the water,' but to put every drop to work." (DeBuys and Harris 11). This reverence for water is one of the focal points of Alex Harris' photography in River of Traps, a documentary of 80-year-old Romero, an Hispanic farmer who lived and worked in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico.
In fact, this connection to the land is one of the themes that flows through these photographs and is probably a cornerstone of southwestern art. According to essayist Michael Grant, "A connection to nature is the very theme of southwestern art" (156). However, it's…… [Read More]
That is why I became Treasurer of the ives Club, out of gratefulness for this extended family. I know many people of my generation struggle to find 'who they are' but the structure of the military offers a potent and compelling answer to that question. To serve means always to be at home amongst people who understand exactly what you are going through: "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in" (Frost 118-119).
Being in the military does not mean, contrary to conventional wisdom, that one must obey an unthinking policy of 'my country right or wrong.' The men and women in the military must obey because soldiers cannot afford to question every order and live, however, this does not make them unthinking automatons -- far from it. In fact, soldiers think more about the great questions of life and death,…… [Read More]